Nadal Back to Form as Murray’s Bid For a First Career Title on Clay Suffers Another Setback.

Sixth- seeded Czech Tomas Berdych ended Britain’s Andy Murray’s latest bid for a first career title on clay with a 7-6, 6-4 scores in the Madrid Open quarter- finals on Friday.

Andy Murray.
Andy Murray.

The world number three had lost all of his previous two matches on clay against Berdych, who was runner- up to Roger Federer last year, and produced an erratic performance this time round.

Against Frenchman Gilles Simon on Thursday, Murray battled through a grueling three- hour encounter that finished late and the Scot appeared increasingly weary as Friday’s match wore on.

Berdych will next play seventh seed Frenchman Jo- Wilfried Tsonga or fifteenth- seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka for a place in Sunday’s final, as the Czechoslovakian chase his first title of the year.

World No. 5 Rafael Nadal rallied past compatriot David Ferrer 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-0 on Friday in the quarterfinal of the Madrid Open, in a bid to reach a seventh straight final since returning from a knee injury.

In a meeting of two of Spain’s top- ranked players, Ferrer’s baseline game on the red clay almost proved too much for Nadal.

But Nadal won the tiebreaker to force a third set and won the six straight to improve his career record against Ferrer to 18-4.

Nadal who is due to play either Pablo Andujar or Kei Nishikori said after the game:

Rafael Nadal.
Rafael Nadal.

“I’m just happy to be back in the semifinals at Madrid.”

Ferrer had an opportunity to earn two match points when leading 5-4 and 30-15. He had plenty of time to slam a floating ball into an open court but instead fired at his opponent’s feet, allowing Nadal to scoop it over the net.

“It was a tightly contested match,” Nadal who won in 2005 & 2010 said. “David deserved it more than I did to reach the semifinals, but that is sport. I was lucky to somehow save that ball down 15-30.

“After missing his chance, David fell apart a little. He lowered his intensity in the third set and I didn’t have to do as much.”

In the tiebreaker Nadal made steady shots and only got better in the third set. After placing a perfect lob near the baseline, he wowed the crowd by nailing a forehand winner while almost stumbling to the ground en route to building an insurmountable 4-0 lead.